Yoani Sánchez Wins CEPOS Freedom Award
NEW YORK (November 16, 2010) – The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) is pleased to announce that 2010 Oslo Freedom Forum speaker and Cuban blogger Yoani Sánchez was awarded the inaugural CEPOS Freedom Award, in the amount of $50,000, by the independent Danish think tank, CEPOS. Sánchez, author of the world-renowned blog Generación Y, was nominated for the award by HRF President Thor Halvorssen.
The Freedom Award is granted to individuals who demonstrate a principled and steadfast commitment to the values and ideas of individual freedom and basic human rights.
“CEPOS could not have selected a more deserving recipient for this prize,” said Halvorssen. “Sánchez is a remarkable woman who has repeatedly overcome great obstacles and risked daunting consequences to make her voice heard, despite a dictatorship that systematically strangles freedom of expression.”
Through her blog, Sánchez provides a window into the hard-hitting reality of everyday life in Cuba. Her elegant and thoughtful criticism of the totalitarian state has earned her the 2008 Ortega y Gasset Prize for Journalism and the 2009 Maria Moors Cabot Prize. She was named one of Time magazine’s "100 Most Influential People in the World” in 2008, and was selected as a 2010 World Press Freedom Hero by the International Press Institute.
“Despite the huge personal costs, Yoani Sánchez has shown amazing courage by expressing her honest and personal opinion of the society she currently lives in. Single-handedly and at great personal expense, she has managed to keep focus on one of the world’s most suffocating dictatorships. CEPOS wishes to show admiration of her courage and dedication by awarding her this prize,” said CEPOS Director Martin Ågerup.
CEPOS has invited Sánchez to receive the Freedom Award at a ceremony in Copenhagen in the near future.
“We hope that the Cuban government will recognize her right to travel to Denmark to receive the prize in person,” stated Halvorssen.
HRF is an international nonpartisan organization devoted to defending human rights in the Americas. It centers its work on the twin concepts of freedom of self-determination and freedom from tyranny. These ideals include the belief that all human beings have the rights to speak freely, to associate with those of like mind, and to leave and enter their countries. Individuals in a free society must be accorded equal treatment and due process under law, and must have the opportunity to participate in the governments of their countries; HRF’s ideals likewise find expression in the conviction that all human beings have the right to be free from arbitrary detainment or exile and from interference and coercion in matters of conscience. HRF does not support nor condone violence. HRF’s International Council includes former prisoners of conscience Vladimir Bukovsky, Palden Gyatso, Václav Havel, Mutabar Tadjibaeva, Ramón J. Velásquez, Elie Wiesel, and Harry Wu.
Contact: Thor Halvorssen, Human Rights Foundation, (212) 246.8486, firstname.lastname@example.org
Watch Yoani Sánchez’s speech from the 2010 Oslo Freedom Forum here.